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chiapuris

Bolshoi at ROH London 8-01-06 to 8-10-06

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Bolshoi in London, The Pharaoh’s Daughter, Tue, 1 Aug 2006

Cast

Aspicia Svetlana Lunkina

Lord Wilson/ Taor Ruslan Skvortsov

John Bull/Passiphonte Denis Medvedev

Ramze Anastasia Yatsenko

Fisherman Yuri Baronov

His Wife Ekaterina Shipulina

1st Var. Pas d’action Daria Gurevich

2nd Var. Nina Kaptsova

1st male Var. Yan Godovsky

2nd male Var. Viacheslav Lopatin

River Guadalquivir Ekaterina Krysanova

River Congo Anna Nikulina

River Neva Elena Andrienko

The Pharaoh Alexei Loparevich

Ruler of the Nile Georgy Geraskin

Caryatids Viktoria Osipova

Anna Balukova

Anna Nikulina

Xenia Sorokina

A Monkey Alexander Pshenitsyn

Black Slave Alexander Petukhov

The second night performance of the Pharaoh’s Daughter in London was a most enjoyable evening, with, in my view,

a wonderful, well-balanced cast.

Lunkina and Skvortsov are well-matched physically; artistically they don’t seem the types to spell out high-intensity emotional ardor in dance and mime. That is fine by me.

I viewed the entire cast as sharing an ideal of classicism as artistic pursuit; which is to say, that all the principals and soloists and corps comprised a finely-tuned ensemble expressing ideals of classical dance.

In the first dancing scene, hunting the lion, the hunting female and male ensembles spell over and over again the notion of synchronicity as art.

It works too.

Yatsenko as Ramze has an energy and precision that makes her every movement interesting. (I just wish Ramze’s wig was more becoming. It is so….expansive).

Lacotte’s choreography has considerable petit batterie for the principals and soloists, some of it, moreover, with arms in bras bas position.

They recollect Bournonville combinations. Lunkina and Skvortsov looked charming in these sections. Both the principals shone for me as classicists by heeding one of the earliest classical dictums, ‘Nothing in excess’.

The Act II pdd was beautifully rendered, save for loss of Lunkina’s verticality at the end of spinning multiple supported pirouettes. It happened twice. The luminosity of Lunkina’s arabesques, supported or not, is outstanding. So spontaneous and evanescent.

Lunkina’s unsupported pirouettes were faultless. In one act she started a series of fouettes and added doubles and a flawless triple in the middle. (Once is enough!)

My companion thought that Skvortsov’s variation could have used more of the ‘bombastic’. I found it expressive by its measured and contained force.

The fishing village scene was led by the incomparable Ekaterina Shipulina and Yuri Baranov (whose biography was not listed in the ‘big’ program; anyone [inga?] have information about him?) as the hosts. Their ‘Bournonville look’ dancing, as well as that of the ensemble’s echoing their steps, on the clearing by their hut, creates a delicate scale that contrasts with the gigantism of the pharaonic living quarters.

Denis Medvedev was excellent in his demi-caractere variation at the fishing village.

In this section, too, Lunkina and Skvortsov had brilliant little steps ending in the academic fifth position

(5th position as origin and destination); neat and harking back to an earlier mode of academic dance.

The underwater river Nile scene is altogether a well-conceived dance interlude. The three river variations are showpieces. (All Lacotte? Some Petipa?) Ekaterina Krysanova (still listed as corps de ballet) filled the stage during her Guadalquivir variation with her joy in dancing. What a rare talent she has! Anna Nikulina (also not listed in the ‘big’ program) was elegant as the river Congo. Elena Andrienko was delightful in the river Neva variation.

The variation of Lunkina was a poem of melancholy as she longed to return on land to Taor. The supported adage with the four male waterbeings was beautifully coordinated and seemed flowingly at one with the acqueous element.

The final adage in the palace, of Aspicia in long white gown and Taor was filled with seemless dancing.

The last large ensemble piece, with hand cymbals, had complex design and was performed by the Bolshoi company with whirlwind intensity. Very striking.

In sum, an elegant performance by a brilliant cast.

Pavel Klinichev made the Pugni score sound rich and refined.

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Bolshoi in London, The Pharaoh’s Daughter, Tue, 1 Aug 2006

.Lunkina and Skvortsov are well-matched physically; artistically they don’t seem the types to spell out high-intensity emotional ardor in dance and mime. That is fine by me.

I viewed the entire cast as sharing an ideal of classicism as artistic pursuit; which is to say, that all the principals and soloists and corps comprised a finely-tuned ensemble expressing ideals of classical dance.

Hi, chiapuris. Thanks for another excellent review. I'm very glad to hear that you are 'enjoying' the performances. This could be ultimately what it's all about.

I saw Svetlana Lunkina's Pharoah's Daughter in NYC and I felt somewhat the same way. I also saw her Swan Lake in England and interestingly, for me, she had very 'intense expression', both for Odette and Odillle. Ive seen her four times and I can't quite figure it out. It could be personal choice, coaching...? Her dancing by the way in the last two adagios, as you mentioned, is some of the finest dancing that I have ever seen!

You also call attention to the intricate dance steps, etc. I read an interesting discussion once, reminding us, that Marius Petipa had just arrived from France when he choreographed this ballet. Pierre Lacotte may well be reflecting this. Also from what I've read there is very little of Marius Petipa's actual choreography in this ballet. This is openly acknowledged by Lacotte. Ramze's toe tapping sequence is one of the very few original step sequences used.

I'm glad that you liked Elena Andrienko. She is a totally 'personal' favorite of mine in this ballet because of her "delightful" fairy-like lighter than air dancing. A lot of what you have described can be seen on the Pharoah's Daughter DVD featuring Svetlana Zakhavova and Segei Filin.

I am very interested in Natalia Osipova's version this afternoon. If I can find anything quotable here I will try and pass it on.

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I saw all three casts of "The Pharoah's Daughter" (from standing room) last summer when the Bolshoi visited NYC. I reviewed the opening night cast with Zakharova and Tsiskaridze on this board at that time.

Lunkina was actually the most emotional and moving of the three ladies who danced Aspicia. Her mime was very human and specific. For example in the grand pas in the second act in the palace throne room after being affianced to the King of Nubia: Aspicia is being partnered by Ta-Hor and Lunkina projected an intense sadness that Zakharova and Alexandrova didn't bother with. You suddenly realized that Aspicia was realizing that this was her last moment of contact with Ta-Hor and that fate would separate them. She realized she would be unhappy without him and that motivated her flight with him at the end of the act.

Little touches like that separate the artist from the talented dancer. Luckily after a "Bright Stream" performance in that same run, Ratmansky came onstage at the curtain call to announce her promotion to First Principal. It was richly deserved and quite overdue.

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Bolshoi, Swan Lake, London, 5-8-06 7:30pm

Cast

Odette/Odile Maria Alexandrova

Siegfried Sergei Filin

The Evil Genius Dmitri Belogolovtsev

The Princess Mother Maria Volodina

The Tutor Alexei Loparevich

The Fool Yan Godovsky

The Prince’s Friends Elena Andrienko

Ekaterina Krysanova

Master of Ceremonies Alexander Fadeyechev

Hungarian Princess Nelly Kobakhidze

Russian Anna Rebetskaya

Spanish Natalia Osipova

Neapolitan Nina Kaptsova

Polish Ekaterina Shipulina

Dancing:

Maria Alexandrova created an exceptional, unique Odette/Odile. Intensely musical, she makes transparent the phrases, and sentences, and paragraphs of the Ivanov choreography by focusing on clean dancing. As a musically intense dancer, she keeps the viewer interested in every second of her allocated time on stage by the way she incorporates the space around her as part of the dance design. I found it a deeply moving performance.

As Odette, she was expressive by strength of conviction, using no mime to fill the elements of the story (a Grigorovich emendation). Employing only the movements of the classical vocabulary, without resource to body language, ‘me’ ‘you’ ‘afraid’, or 19th c. ballet conventions ‘I’ ‘heart’ ‘you’, the meaning of the dance was communicated.

Her face as Odette remained a mirror reflecting the textures and tensions of the dance, without once falling into the ‘trap’ of acting. This I found unique about her Odette portrait.

As Odile, the eyes flirted, the lips invited, the mouth smiled, and the body beckoned.

There was no mistaking this for anything but a dance of seduction. The language of classicism found a true adherent in her coda of fouettes; she started out with three fouettes, then a pirouette en dehors attitude en avant, repeated the pattern four times, then fouettes en suite at an increasingly faster tempo until the end which signalled- not a technical bravura passage- but a declaration of unstinted love. Astonishing.

I felt it a privilege to view this performance.

Sergei Filin was a worthy partner with his virtues of princely demeanor, handsome looks, and energy in bravura. (Although in his first variation he had trouble with his two, single-pirouette en dehors en premiere arabesque).

He didn’t seem to me to respond in any way, large or subtle, after meeting Odette

that looked different from his behaviour towards the women who were presented to him as potential brides. (They seemed to lead him into a state of melancholy). His zest in dancing and his comely appearance give him authenticity, but I didn’t ‘get’ his reaction to finding his ideal love. Perhaps I missed his reactions, since I was really concentrating on Alexandrova.

Belogolovtsev as Rothbart (renamed The Evil Genius by Grigorovich) was a convincing anti-hero, with his own face visible for a change (instead of a mask or heavy makeup). More about the part when I write on Grigorovich’s choreography.

The pas de trois –in the 1st act- is danced by Siegfried and ‘two friends’, Andrienko and Krysanova. This is a delightful divertissement (if I recall correctly not usually danced by Siegfried).

The elegant Andrienko and the joyous Krysanova showed the strength of the Bolshoi company in the soloist ranks. Krysanova, to me an exceptional dancer, covered the ROH stage with her fast-as-light pas de courus and her joie de vivre.

In the second act (Grig.: 1st act, 2nd scene) the Three (large) Swans, Kobakhidze, Grebenshchikova, and V. Osipova, as well as the Four (little) Swans, Pavlova, Kurkova, Stashkevich, and Alizade confirmed the strength of the demi-soloist ranks of the company. Particularly outstanding is Chinara Alizade with her clean line.

In the third act (Grig.: 2nd act, 1st scene) the national dances have been transformed into variations for the foreign brides-to-be.

All of them are in white gowns, each with her own ensemble dressed in ethnically flavoured costumes, but all in pointe shoes. (Grigorovic emendation: no mime, no character or demi-caractere dancing).

Kobakhidze as the Hungarian princess showed her elegant and attenuated line. The choreography seemed repetitive. Rebetskaya of the beautiful smile, was a bright performer but again the transliteration of the group dances into solos (even with background ensembles) doesn’t work very well. N. Osipova dazzled with her initial grands sauts, but the musical time usually allocated to two couples, wasn’t well-filled for the solo, even with the ensemble sections.

The choreography of all the ensembles behind the princesses did not create enough interest as pure dance.

Kaptsova as the Neapolitan princess was absolutely captivating as a performer, although her allocated choreography was not, in my view, top notch. Shipulina as the Polish princess brought the magic of her dancing to the mazurka, which is usually reserved for large-scale group. Her cabrioles were nevertheless dashing. What riches of talent! What gorgeous dancing!

The Grigorovich ending of the work seems incomprehensible.

(More on the choreography in a later post).

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Bolshoi Swan Lake London 5/8/06 Part II

Scenario:

Grigorovich’s concept of Swan Lake is a puzzle. The present version premiered in March 2001. In the London program Grigorovich writes, in a choreographer’s note,:

“My version of Swan lake was first produced….during the 1969-70 season…The basic principles of my approach have remained as originally conceived”. He further adds that his new scenario moves the ballet…”from the genre of fairy-tale to that of a romantic novella”.

Essentially this means that the good-evil dichotomy of the original story is thrown out–where maidens are turned into swans by an evil sorcerer- and instead, we have an Evil Genius who represents (directs?) the inner psychological life of the prince. The evil genius is also the destiny of the Prince.

What we’re left with, then, is that the prince is the only real character in the ballet; all the other protagonists are figments of his imagination fired by his evil genius (read destiny). It is destiny, in Grigorovich’s words, …”imperiously luring Siegfried.. to the world of ideal love”.

My problem is this: how can an evil destiny lead to ideal love? In a fairy-tale we have the yin and yang of good and evil: good maidens turned into swans by evil sorcerer.

In Grigorovich’s words we have the Evil Genius suggesting (introducing) pure, ideal love. Are we ahead of the fairy-tale game of constant struggle between opposing forces? Can pure come out of evil?

Analyzing the premise further, who then is Odette? Who are the swans of Ivanov?

Phantoms of …nothing? The premise seems to be a path to nihilism.

Grigorovich writes further in the London program: …”I retained Tchaikovsky’s structure but divided my ballet into two acts with only one interval. [The one interval idea is good] Each of the acts is made up of scenes that alternate between real life and an ideal fantasy world. There are virtually no time barriers between these two worlds; they interchange and flow into each other, mirroring not only a general state of human consciousness but, more specifically, that of the ballet’s hero, Prince Siegfried”.

No wonder you have the mirror-dancing of Siegfried in white and the Evil Genius in black (before the lake scene). It’s the hero and his consciousness. But why is the genius evil? Can any good ever come out of evil?

No wonder, at the end of the 4th act, Siegfried stands helpless downstage and the genius, upstage, picks up Odette and drops her—end of story.

As a conceptual basis for a ballet scenario this makes no sense.

As a basis for an apologia for a life lived, it makes some sense: ‘The devil made me do it’.

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Bolshoi, Swan Lake, London, 5-8-06 7:30pm

Her face as Odette remained a mirror reflecting the textures and tensions of the dance

This might be the same thing that I saw in Daria Pavlenko's Giselle in DC. (What a wonderful performance that was in retrospect.) Also this might be what Ulyana Lopatkina is doing with her Swan Lake. In addition when I watch Galina Ulanova's Swan Lake pdd video performance with Konstantin Sergeyev, she seems to be in her own wonderful universe. They may all be expressing the music, or the world of dance itself, or... This all refers to dancers possibly transcending the actual story and reaching for something beyond.

Very fine review by the way.

As I mentioned in my April review, I found Maria Alexandrova to be the Most Loveable "Odile" that I could imagine.

Clement Crisp seems to agree with you about Chinara Alizade. I guess that this is another new name to keep our eyes on, along with Natalia Osipova, who got some very favorable comments on the internet for her Odette/Odile.

Here is some of Clement Crisp's very nice review of the Swan Lake performance with Svetlana Zakharova. (I've also watched her new Giselle video several times. What an incredibly beautiful dancer she is!----Wow!)

"This eighth wonder of the world first saw the light of day in Moscow in 1877...The impeccable ranks of swans move as one, and are marvellous. The soloists invest their choreography with an unfailing authority – Natalia Osipova a shining example as the Spanish Princess in the ballroom scene; a cygnet (Chinara Alizade) with ravishing feet. Its focus was the Siegfried of Ruslan Skvortsov, handsome, presenting the role and the dance through broad, weighted brushstrokes, and obsessed by Svetlana Zakharova’s Odette/Odile. Here is a ballerina of exceptional gifts. The rituals of the choreography are shown as fine-boned, exquisitely linear, drawn with an unerring and Ingres-like skill. I found her Odette wonderful in technical exposition...Her Odile...Beautiful, smiling, serene..."

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/3083ce52-256a-11db...00779e2340.html

[Added later by Buddy. Natalia Osipova danced Aspicia in The Pharoah's Daughter and not Odette/Odile.]

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I was at the same Alexandrova - Filin Swan Lake as Chiapuris.

I would not have the same ultimate praise.

Alexandrova is a great pure dancer. It was wonderful to watch her Odette, but I have often been more moved by dancers who are, perhaps, technically less perfect. The way I saw it (we were in the 6th row from the stage) her face was practically immobile throughout the entire first white scene. (Grigorovich' Swan Lake is a two-act ballet.) I think it is both a personal choice and a matter of Grigorovich' scenario (Odette is supposed to be a figment of Siegfried's fantasy) that there was so little dramatic expression, but this did make for a rather sterile first half, entirely focused on exquisite dancing.

A real problem was however the total lack of dramatic chemistry between Alexandrova and Filin. Filin is just a dancer who loves to dance and enchant the audience. Period. He was really most expressive during the curtain calls. There was never any sense during the very slow white PDD that he was a despondent prince awestruck by this otherworldly being. He was just partnering a great dancer. I'm not complaining at this level of dancing, but in the best performances there is great imagination added to wonderful, musical dancing, and this didn't happen in the first half of this Swan Lake.

Without Odette's constipated look Alexandrova's Odile was much more expansive. The audience went crazy during the fouettees, though I couldn't help but notice there was quite a bit of travelling, and of course there are some infelicitous Grigorovich cuts and changes in the Black Swan PDD.

What's really good about Grigorovich's Swan Lake is the suite of dances by the various bride-to-be princesses. Instead of filling the stage with a couple dozen corps members stomping away at the mazurka, etc, each national dance is dedicated to a princess and her retinue introducing herself to the prince and the queen. There's a lot of Raymonda in the wonderful Hungarian (hand behind the head) and Russian variations (real hand claps), and they were blissfully danced by Nelly Kobakhidze and Anna Rebetskaya. The last, Polish variation was by Ekaterina Shipulina.

This suite of dances really is a ray, no, a huge beam of light in this otherwise rather murky conception of Swan Lake, with the Evil Genius following Siegfried around and all the gloomy blacks and browns.

The funny thing is when you say Bolshoi you think of extraverted dramatic dancing, and apart from the brides-to-be and part of the Black Swan PDD what I saw was a very introverted type of dancing. At no point was I ever reminded Swan Lake is a ballet about life and death, desire and betrayal. It was mostly about exquisite dancing.

The corps was great. I don't think I have ever sat through an entire Swan Lake without seeing the slightest inperfection whatsoever. These girls really have got their act together. The orchestra was great, conducted by Pavel Sorokin, (and they'd played the exact same music in the afternoon, too, and the previous nights). There were a couple of moments when I did like Balanchine said, just closing my eyes enjoying the music.

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Bolshoi ROH London Cinderella 7-8-06

Cast

The Storyteller Viktor Barykin

Cinderella Svetlana Zakharova

The Prince Sergei Filin

Stepmother Maria Volodina

Stepsisters Anastasia Vinokur

Lola Kochetkova

Dancing Master Gennady Yanin

Spring Elena Andrienko

Summer Anastasia Kurkova

Autumn Natalia Osipova

Winter Nelly Kobakhidze

Ravens Arsen Karakozov, Alexei Matrakhov, Sergei Minakov,

Roman Sinachev

Blue Angel Anna Rebetskaya

Opera Diva Daria Vorokhobko

This performance was my only chance to see Svetlana Zakharova in London. I had stood in line for 4 hours one afternoon in case of return tickets for her Swan Lake, to no avail.

Possokhov’s Cinderella premiered in February 2006. It is a fairly new role for Zakharova. What it revealed to me was the breadth of her range. She looked radiant, of course, but she looked like she does in no other role.

Modest, with a curiosity about her world around her, and moving from the very center of her being, she moved as if she were inventing the means for impetus right on the very spot. Every gesture belonged appropriately to Cinderella, not to a ballerina showing off her wares. I found it a very convincing portrait of a fairy-tale innocent.

She is a dazzling talent and artist.

Possokhov can be credited for providing choreography for adequately fueling the protagonist’s performance. The overall assessment of the choreographic design, in my first view, is that it leaves an impression of blandness. (I reserve the right to change my mind).

The variations of the seasons in the first act are quirky, fresh, and seemed at one with the music. Outstanding were N. Osipova with her buoyant leaps and her impressive ballon, and Andrienko with her concise line and energy.

The ensemble dances of the ballroom scene had all the steps you would expect to see in them, and, yet, there is something in the ballroom music of Prokofiev that so far choreographers have failed to capture.

I also thought that Sandra Woodall’s 1930’s ballroom dresses were bland.

Zakharova makes all frocks glamorous.

The third act had for me the least successful integration of choreography to the musical platform. The Marlene Dietrich and Maria Callas ‘skits’ seemed pointless.

And I just didn’t ‘get’ the five ponies. (Seemed OK for Broadway).

I am grateful to Possokhov for creating a vehicle for an evening with Zakharova.

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I was at the same Alexandrova - Filin Swan Lake as Chiapuris.

The way I saw it (we were in the 6th row from the stage) her face was practically immobile throughout the entire first white scene. (

What a small world Herman. We were sitting in the 4th row center from the stage.

We saw the same immobility in Alexandrova's face. I just happened to like it a lot, because her dancing became and remained so expressive throughout the lake scene. Chacun a son gout.

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What a small world Herman.

We met a Ballet Talk friend in the interval. So that makes three...

We were sitting in the 4th row center from the stage.

Aren't those stalls just to die for? It's such an intimate theatre, really.

We saw the same immobility in Alexandrova's face. I just happened to like it a lot, because her dancing became and remained so expressive throughout the lake scene. Chacun a son gout.

I think some kind of eye contact is really desirable. But in a way I have no problem with M.A.'s Odette. These were her intentions (surely she thought longer about them than I did) and she fullfilled them to the max. I just think Filin fell short of complementing them and making it a truly great show.

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Hi chiapuris----standing in line for four hours to try and get Bolshoi tickets at the last minute----I would have done the same thing. Remember that exactly fifty years ago folks stood in line for Three Nights(!) in London to get their first look at the Bolshoi dancers. You are part of History!

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Bolshoi, Swan Lake, London, 5-8-06 7:30pm

I guess that this is another new name to keep our eyes on, along with Natalia Osipova, who got some very favorable comments on the internet for her Odette/Odile.

A slight mega-error on my part. Natalia Osipova danced Aspicia in The Pharoah's Daughter and not Odette-Odile.

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Hi chiapuris----standing in line for four hours to try and get Bolshoi tickets at the last minute----I would have done the same thing. Remember that exactly fifty years ago folks stood in line for Three Nights(!) in London to get their first look at the Bolshoi dancers. You are part of History!

Eh, Buddy? Fifty years ago was at the height of the Cold War when great artists and troupes rarely ever ventured out of the USSR.

These days, with the theatres under reconstruction both the Bolshoi and the K-Mariinsky are essentially touring companies. As it happens both the Bolshoi and the K-M are in London now.

So if you miss a show, you can be pretty sure you'll have another opportunity next year.

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I just think Filin fell short of complementing them and making it a truly great show.

I have no disagreement at all with you about the Prince of the performance. And wrote about it too.

Especially since for Grigorovich he is the only real protagonist of the ballet.

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Especially since for Grigorovich he is the only real protagonist of the ballet.

well, that's just never going to happen in Swan Lake, unless Siegfried will whip out 32 fouettees.

many modern productions try to solve the Act I problem, and maybe there just isn't any better solution than a than letting it be.

in some ways the Grigorovich version compounds the problem by making Rothbart Siegfried's Evil Genius with the risk of the bad guy upstaging the good guy (as in Raymonda).

BTW I should say that IMO Grigorovich is one of the great 20th C choreographers (a fact not much enhanced by the obnoxity of his many hagiographies written in the same vein as political propaganda). Swan Lake is just not one of his happiest pieces.

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So if you miss a show, you can be pretty sure you'll have another opportunity next year.

Hi Herman. chiapuris was Unable(!) to get a ticket.

Still chiapuris should be a Role Model for us all following in the footsteps of his Noble Ancesters fifty years ago!----Cheers!

:blink:

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Bolshoi, ROH London, Cinderella 9/8/06 2:00 matinee

Cast

Cinderella Ekaterina Krysanova

The Prince Dmitri Gudanov

All other roles same as 7/8/06 performance.

An announcement before the curtain: The Storyteller=A Melanin

The scenario of Cinderella is a story within a story. The storyteller (Prokofiev) lives in a small planet (Moon?) and has an assistant nicknamed Ptashka, who keeps things tidy for him. The storyteller is writing Cinderella and Ptashka, who reads it, agrees to play Cinderella. He takes her to the Stepmother’s house and the fairy-tale begins unfolding as we know it. Except that the storyteller serves the part of the Fairy Godmother.

Actually, I liked Possokhov’s choreography more on second viewing. (Also from much better seats).

Ekaterina Krysanova created a very moving portrayal with her brilliant technical facility and her slender silhouette. She shows a clear love for dancing that shines through and lights the stage. Moreover, Dmitri Gudanov was excellent. He seemed to have a much better day than Filin did the first night (7/8/06). He was technically cleaner and a much more ardent partner in the two adages.

Krysanova and Gudanov were well matched. I found the final adage was much more moving with Krysanova/Gudanov (than the first night’s), because I felt there was a chemistry between the two of them which showed in every gesture, every contact.

Their dancing matched the emotional pitch of Prokofiev’s music.

The Four Seasons superb soloists served as the fairies who provided gifts for Cinderella at the storyteller’s prompting. Each season had her own entourage. Spring (Andrienko) had Grasshoppers (K Abdulin, A Vodopetov); Summer (Kurkova) Dragonflies (S Gnedova, Y Lunkina); Autumn (N Osipova) Sunflowers (N Lomakina, N Nagimova, Y Grebenshchikova); and Winter (Kobakhidze) Bullfinches (I Prazdnikov, A Rybakov, R Tselishchev). Cinderella joins in the finale of the divertissement- one of the brightest tableaux of the ballet.

In my earlier review I called Woodall’s ballroom gowns bland. I don’t think that expresses accurately what I meant. It’s the bobbed-hair-with-bangs wigs and the gowns that, in my view, make the women dancers not look their best. Chic?

Perhaps. Fairy-tale elegant? No.

The third act still, for me, remains thin. I figured out the ponies are there as transportation for the prince and his four friends as they travel the world in search of the owner of the slipper left behind at the ball. The Krysanova/Gudanov final dance makes up for any lack. It was simply beautiful.

Alexander Vedernikov conducted with distinction. The orchestra was splendid.

Performance anecdote: Toward the end of the first act, a dropcloth that was supposed to be lifted got stuck on one side. The conductor stopped the music. Krysanova went up to the problem drop and started tugging with all her might. She pulled it down straight, so it could be lifted. Once she fixed the problem she went back to the storyteller who hadn’t moved all this time and she resumed the scene as the music started again. Heroic rescue. Tremendous audience applause.

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Krysanova went up to the problem drop and started tugging with all her might. She pulled it down straight, so it could be lifted.

Atta girl, Cinderella!

So would you in hindsight say you liked Krysanova's C better than Zakharova's, or were you just better seated and suited to the choreography this time?

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I don't have a problem with Grigorivich's concept so much as its execution. Nureyev's version for the POB kind of has the same concept (with the tutor being sort of an Evil Genius), but Nureyev leaves more of the Petipa/Ivanov structure and musical arrangements intact, and he restores the mime.

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[

So would you in hindsight say you liked Krysanova's C better than Zakharova's, or were you just better seated and suited to the choreography this time?

I couldn't play any rating game. I thought Zakharova was wonderful.

I thought Krysanova was wonderful. I did feel that the Krysanova/Gudanov partnership gave

a more satisfying 'Cinderella and Prince' duet.

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Bolshoi ROH London The Bright Stream 10-08-06

Cast:

Zina Svetlana Lunkina

Pyotr Yuri Klevstsov

The Ballerina Maria Alexandrova

The Classical Dancer Sergei Filin

The Accordion Player Gennady Yanin

The Old Dacha Dweller Alexei Loparevich

His Wife Irina Zibrova

Galya Anastasia Stashkevich

Gavrilych Egor Simachev

The Milkmaid Anastasia Yatsenko

The Tractor Driver Alexander Petukhov

Zina’s Friends Victoria Osipova

Ekaterina Krysanova

Daria Gurevich

Anna Rebetskaya

Yulia Lunkina

Svetlana Pavlova

The Bright Stream is that rare phenomenon in ballet, a comedy, blessed with a zestful, melodic Shostakovich score. Its fresh choreography by Ratmansky, along with the tongue-in-cheek designs of Boris Messerer, fill the original libretto created by Fyodor Lopukhov.

Its farcical plot- even though stemming from the era of the socially commited Soviet dramballet- centers on the age-old theatrical gag of a husband (Klevtsov) courting his own, disguised, wife (Lunkina), while imagining he’s flirting with another woman. Other time-worn gags, such as cross-dressing (Alexandrova and Filin) to embarass foolish suitors (Zibrova and Loparevich), and a man impersonating a dog (Petukhov) to thwart a suitor’s designs (Yanin) on his beloved (Staskevich) provide additional fodder for dancing and mime that add up to an evening of delightful entertainment..

The scenario has to do with the visit of dancers and musicians to a Soviet farm collective for the celebration of the harvest festival. A local woman was a ballet schoolmate of the visiting ballerina; the local woman’s husband almost immediately starts flirting with the ballerina. Another older local woman is smitten with the classical dancer, while her older husband fancies the ballerina. The visiting accordion player goes after a student, whose boyfriend , the tractor driver, objects.

The ballerina sets the events of the second act by suggesting her school friend disguise herself with one of her dance costumes, and ‘dance’ with her own husband.. The ballerina will crossdress to meet with the older woman attracted to the classical dancer. The ballerina convinces her male colleague to dress as a sylph for the tryst with the older local man.

The tractor driver will dress as a dog to protect his girlfriend. And there you have the events of the second act..

Lunkina as Zina, the local girl with ballet training, is truly delightful. She is the most elegant country girl you can imagine in her close-fitting, short, white dress. Her mime was truly expressive and her dancing showed a linear purity, ‘love for dance in its own right’ in the setting of a comedy. Klevtsov was a fitting partner, strong, articulate. He has a muscular presence that harkens back to earlier male Bolshoi physiques.

Alexandrova showed her exuberant technique and open movements with a delicious flair for the comedic story line. Filin showed a generosity of spirit in his capacity for the farcical. He was truly amusing as the cross-dressed sylph, where the comedy lay in the appreciation of the gender-specific classical foot and leg technique of pointe dancing. In spite of all the prodigious skills displayed by Filin, the pointe work looked truly funny on a man. Alexandrova, en travestie, repeated a variation performed earlier by Filin full of sharpness and ballon, ending with a series of retires passes sautes, on one leg, with changes of direction.

The man as dog (Petukhov) was funnier than it sounds. He was a desperate dog. At one point the dog rode a bike to catch up to his pursued beloved.

Irina Zibrova and Alexei Loparevich as the old dacha dwellers created wonderful cartoon characters. I especially enjoyed Zibrova’s variations on ballroom moves with delicious timing.

The ensemble dances that closed the first act and those of the finale showed Ratmansky’s sure hand in manipulating large groups in interesting patterns. The sets, costumes, and the choreography were all first-rate. The same can be stated for the entire Bolshoi company. And so was the conducting of Pavel Sorokin and the Bolshoi orchestra.

A memorable evening.

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Many thanks, chiapuris for these wonderful accounts of the Bolshoi visit to London. :clapping: The last time someone tried to describe the plot to me, he ended with, "you just have to see it," and I'm particularly grateful for your concise and coherent synopsis.

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Thanks chiapurisfor your review, Do you recommend me to see it?

The Bolshoi ballet will be guestdancing in the Danish Royal Ballet and they will prefrom the brigth stream, and i can´t decide if i want to see it or not :clapping:

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SEE IT!

I saw it Friday night with the second cast - Yatsenko, (someone replacing Klevtsov as Pyotr and I don't know who and there was no announcement or cast sheet!), Shipulina, Skvortsov. I was upset not to see Lunkina and Alexandrova, but I just couldn't make it on Thursday.

Some might think this as OTT, but I've never enjoyed the Bolshoi so much. Even though I've seen them in Pharaoh's Daughter, despite the plot, I've always felt that when I saw the Bolshoi I was seeing 'serious' ballet, if that makes sense.

This was just as serious technically, beautifully executed... but, I've never seen the Bolshoi, either live or in person, dance so joyfully. (beside Alexandrova in Don Q). It was a true delight. Yeah yeah I have some minor quibbles here and there, some parts work better than others, whatever. A delightful score, delightful dancing, and happiness all around. I've never heard the Covent Garden audience have such a good time!!!! At the end the *very* stately people who could afford to have the seats in front of my standing place were waving back at the dancers, some practically dancing along, lots of giggling and guffawing, but not in the 'be quiet' sort of way.

Hopefully next time we'll get this as a weekend matinee! This is one for all ages I think, and I actually think it would keep both my dad and my brother awake - which is saying A LOT.

*sigh* - I'm still smiling from Friday night....

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